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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer

A Novel

Philip Roth

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Exactly twenty years ago, Philip Roth made his debut with Goodbye, Columbus, a book that immediately announced the presence of a major new talent.

The Ghost Writer, his eleventh book, begins with a young writer's search, twenty years ago, for the spiritual father who will comprehend and validate his art, and whose support will justify his inevitable flight from a loving but conventionally constricting Jewish middle-class home. Nathan Zuckerman's quest brings him to E.I. Lonoff, whose work--exquisite parables of desire restrained--Nathan much admires. Recently discovered by the literary world after decades of obscurity, Lonoff continues to live as a semi-recluse in rural Massachusetts with his wife, Hope, scion of an old New England family, whom the young immigrant married thirty-five years before. At the Lonoffs' Nathan also meets Amy Bellette, a haunting young woman of indeterminate foreign background. He is instantly infatuated with the attractive and gifted girl, and at first takes her for the aging writer's daughter. She turns out to be a former student of Lonoff's--and may also have been Lonoff's mistress. Zuckerman, with his imaginative curiosity, wonders if she could be the paradigmatic victim of Nazi persecution. If she were, it might change his life.

A figure of fun to the New York literati, a maddeningly single-minded isolate to his wife, teacher-father-savior to Amy, Lonoff embodies for an enchanted Nathan the ideal of artistic integrity and independence. Hop… More…

Exactly twenty years ago, Philip Roth made his debut with Goodbye, Columbus, a book that immediately announced the presence of a major new talent.

The Ghost Writer, his eleventh book, begins with a young writer's search, twenty years ago, for the spiritual father who will comprehend and validate his art, and whose support will justify his inevitable flight from a loving but conventionally constricting Jewish middle-class home. Nathan Zuckerman's quest brings him to E.I. Lonoff, whose work--exquisite parables of desire restrained--Nathan much admires. Recently discovered by the literary world after decades of obscurity, Lonoff continues to live as a semi-recluse in rural Massachusetts with his wife, Hope, scion of an old New England family, whom the young immigrant married thirty-five years before. At the Lonoffs' Nathan also meets Amy Bellette, a haunting young woman of indeterminate foreign background. He is instantly infatuated with the attractive and gifted girl, and at first takes her for the aging writer's daughter. She turns out to be a former student of Lonoff's--and may also have been Lonoff's mistress. Zuckerman, with his imaginative curiosity, wonders if she could be the paradigmatic victim of Nazi persecution. If she were, it might change his life.

A figure of fun to the New York literati, a maddeningly single-minded isolate to his wife, teacher-father-savior to Amy, Lonoff embodies for an enchanted Nathan the ideal of artistic integrity and independence. Hope sees Amy (as does Amy herself) as Lonoff's last chance to break out of his self-imposed constraints, and she bitterly offers to leave him to the younger woman, a chance that, like one of his own heroes, Lonoff resolutely continues to deny himself. Nathan, although in a state of youthful exultation over his early successes, is still troubled by the conflict between two kinds of conscience: tribal and family loyalties, on the one hand, and the demands of fiction, as he sees them, on the other. A startling imaginative leap to the beginnings of a kind of wisdom about the unreckoned consequences of art.

Shocking, comic, and sad by turns, The Ghost Writer is the work of a major novelist in full maturity.

The Ghost Writer was a National Book Award Finalist and a National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee.

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Pulitzer Prize - Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award - Nominee, National Book Awards Finalist, National Books Critics Circle Awards - Nominee, National Book Critics Circle Awards - Nominee

Praise for The Ghost Writer

"Roth's most controlled and elegant work...serious, intelligent, dramatic, acutely vivid, slyly and wickedly funny...seductive far beyond its brief efficiency."—Village Voice

"I had only to read the two opening sentences to realize that I was once again in the hands of a superbly endowed storyteller."—The New York Review of Books

"Further evidence that Roth can do practically anything with fiction. His narrative power—the ability to delight the reader simultaneously with the telling and the tale—is superb."—Washington Post

"The Ghost Writer is energetic, engaging and beautifully written."—The Independent

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Reviews from Goodreads

Philip Roth

Philip Roth (1933-2018) was the award-winning author of Goodbye, Columbus, Portnoy’s Complaint, The Great American Novel, and the books that became known as the Zuckerman Trilogy (The Ghost Writer, Zuckerman Unbound, The Anatomy Lesson), among many others. His honors include two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, three PEN/Faulkner Awards, the Man Booker International Prize, the National Humanities Medal, and the Pulitzer Prize.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Philip studied literature at Bucknell University, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A., and at the University of Chicago where he received an M.A. From 1955 to 1991, he taught writing and literature classes on the faculties of the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2005, he was the only third living writer whose books were published by the Library of America. He lived in Manhattan and Connecticut.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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